eu·​phor·​bia | \ yü-ˈfȯr-bē-ə How to pronounce euphorbia (audio) \

Definition of euphorbia

: any of a large genus (Euphorbia) of herbs, shrubs, and trees of the spurge family that have a milky juice and flowers lacking a calyx and included in an involucre which surrounds a group of several staminate flowers and a central pistillate flower with 3-lobed pistils broadly : spurge

Examples of euphorbia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The neighboring iris, coralbells, dianthus and euphorbia — all sun-lovers — would have died from lack of sun and water. Bonnie Blodgett, Twin Cities, "I let my plants tell me where they want to live," 29 June 2019 Black rhino—some mammalian reflection of the Jurassic, thick-skinned toughness of this landscape—lumber through the ravines, lunching on the weird euphorbia plants that are toxic to most other creatures. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Other common euphorbias include crotons, crown of thorns, and many other cactus-like plants. Kenneth Setzer, miamiherald, "Some of South Florida's most popular plants may be toxic to pets," 14 June 2018 Between the outcroppings lie swampy valleys, or vleis, fed by rainwater runoff and rich in acacias, mopanis, figs, euphorbias and other vegetation. Joshua Hammer, New York Times, "A Birder’s Paradise in Zimbabwe," 18 Apr. 2018 Plants especially susceptible to fasciation include ferns, willow trees, delphiniums, foxgloves, forsythia, euphorbias, lilies, primulas and verbascums such as the mullein. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Some non-native weeds flourish in Idaho," 31 May 2017 But the Old World has plenty of euphorbia plants that look and behave like cactuses, the result of evolutionary convergence on an optimal toolbox for a difficult trade. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "As Rains Ease in the West, Cactuses Shine Brighter Than Ever," 24 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'euphorbia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of euphorbia

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for euphorbia

New Latin, alteration of Latin euphorbea, from Euphorbus, 1st century a.d. Greek physician

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The first known use of euphorbia was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Euphorbia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for euphorbia


eu·​phor·​bia | \ yu̇-ˈfȯr-bē-ə How to pronounce euphorbia (audio) \

Medical Definition of euphorbia

1 : a large genus of plants of the spurge family that have a milky juice and flowers included in an involucre which surrounds a group of several staminate flowers and a central pistillate flower and that include a number which have been used medicinally
2 : any plant of the genus Euphorbia also : any of various other plants that belong to the spurge family

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